Kathryn Traut and Lindsay Lingle were friends before they became co-founders of handbag company Holly and Tanager. They met at their first "real world" jobs and quickly realized they shared a passion for fashion and design. While traveling for work, they also realized that the bags they were using couldn't keep up with their busy lifestyles.
With this, the duo came up with the idea to create the perfect bag for women on the go. Kathryn and Lindsay got to work designing a line of products that seamlessly combined functionality and quality with style.
The Holly and Tanager line now includes backpacks, messenger bags, clutches, laptop cases, and more. Each product makes life simpler and more organized, and because they weren't willing to compromise, you don't have to either.
Keep reading to learn more about this dynamic duo and how Holly and Tanager is helping women in more ways than one. Shop the brand here.
The F Project: Tell us how Kathryn and Lindsay became Holly and Tanager?
Kathryn & Lindsay: We met at our first jobs out college and quickly discovered we shared a passion for style and fashion, particularly handbags. While traveling for work, we experienced first hand the frustration that came from searching for the perfect work bag. At the time, a bag that met our need for functionality, while also satisfying our desire for quality and style, didn’t seem to exist in the market. So we made one ourselves because we believe women should never have to compromise. Two years later, Holly & Tanager continues to explore how we can create extraordinary everyday handbags that work as hard as the women who love them.
TFP: How does Holly and Tanager make life easier for women on the go?
K&L: On the outside, our handbags blend timeless design with standout versatility. But on the inside, the quality and organization of our handbags are what really set them apart. All our handbags are handcrafted with thoughtful organization that allows you to find what you need when you need it. Each item is made by hand with Italian and Bolivian leather that gets even better with age. We carefully select premium hardware that maneuvers with ease and will never chip. All of our items are lined with materials that will never tear or stretch. Our thoughtfully designed handbags make life easier for women on the go and stand the test of time.
TFP: You just launched the Girl Power Tote to raise money for After School Matters, a non-profit organization that provides Chicago high school teens with after-school and summer opportunities. How important is giving back, particularly to women, to you and your brand?
K&L: Giving back is extremely important to us. We are really excited to be partnering with After School Matters (ASM) and donating 100% of the proceeds raised from the Girl Power totes towards their Fashion Design program. If you are not familiar with ASM, they provide Chicago high school teens with after-school and summer opportunities - offering project-based programs in the arts, communications and leadership, sports, science, technology, engineering, and math. We love being a part of such an incredible program that helps teenagers explore and develop their talents while gaining skills for work, college, and beyond.
TFP: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from entrepreneurship?
K&L: We have learned a lot of lessons from being entrepreneurs. It’s hard to pick just one! One of the biggest lessons we have learned is how to manage and prioritize 100 moving projects at once. We have a lot of tools that have helped us stay organized, but weekly team meetings and communication have definitely been key for us to prioritize the right projects at the right time.
TFP: Why did you join the F Project?
K&L: First off, we are honored to have been asked to join the F Project! We are so proud and excited to be a part of such an incredible group of women. This group has enabled us to make connections with other female entrepreneurs that we could not have dreamt of. We look forward to continuing to build relationships with these women and see what we can achieve as a whole!